[Tweeters] Lewis County birding 12/17

Tim Brennan tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 17 21:25:45 PST 2018

Hi Tweets,

I spent the latter half of the day on (likely) my last run down to Lewis County this year, adding one more bird for the year, as Mew Gulls came out of the woodworks to play in the flooded fields at Goodrich and Galvin Roads. That made 170 for the year - a bit short of the goal, but it was awesome getting to see so much of Lewis County this year, and to see Dave and Dalton pushing the new county record higher even into December!

After hitting those ponds (which also had a single Snow Goose - at Galvin Road), I drove a little ways up Lincoln Creek... then a little farther... and kept running into more and more flooded fields. I had hopes that the open fields and clear cuts would land me some Tundra Swans, or maybe a Northern Shrike. A pair of Trumpeter Swans and miles of beautiful scenery was all I got out of it, and I eventually circled around to Bunker Creek Road, and down to Highway 6 near Adna.

Heading east from that junction, I saw a raptor zoom by in the opposite direction on the south side of the highway. My best hunch is that it was a Gyrfalcon - falcon because of the high speed and stiff powerful wingbeats, and Gyr based partly on size, but mostly on proportions. Yes, it seemed like a big bird, but more importantly, in profile, it just seemed way too bulky to be a Peregrine. The size of the chest in proportion to its length seemed completely off. I pulled over as quickly and safely as I could, but the bird had melted into the scenery and was not relocated. This would have been a lifer for me, and unfortunately I don't think I'm heading down again this year, but I hope someone is able to relocate it! If I remember correctly, this is not so far from where a Gyr was found on Pleasant Valley Road a few years back.

They don't need much more down there for the year, but if anyone goes down, a Bonaparte's Gull would sure be nice, maybe an American Tree Sparrow? Palm Warbler??

Happy birding,

Tim Brennan
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